Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that both pollution and traffic congestion in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be reduced by half in the next two months. “We are working on projects worth Rs 40,000 crore and this will help the people living in NCR,” Gadkari said at India TV Budget Conclave here. He said that vehicles can run on ethanol extracted from paddy husks that are burnt rampantly in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. “One tonne of paddy husk can yield 280 litres of ethanol. We will be setting up ethanol industry here, which will give jobs to 40 to 50 lakh youths, and prevent air pollution too. This will also lower petrol products import,” he said.
Gadkari, who also heads Shipping and Water Resources Ministries, also claimed that they would clean up the Ganga by 80 percent by March 2019. On the Budget, he said that it is the first one which can be “rightfully described as an agricultural budget”. “I hail from a place (Vidarbha) where more than 10,000 farmers have committed suicide. When I became a minister, I felt that our voice was not being heard in Delhi. “But now I can say, for the first time since Independence, this is the first budget presented by Arun Jaitley under the leadership of Narendra Modiji, which can be rightfully described as an agricultural budget,” he said.
Taking a dig on Congress President Rahul Gandhi over his tweet that the Modi government had promised better income for farmers four years ago, Gadkari said that some people keep their reactions ready in writing even before the budget is presented. “Those unemployed and frustrated because of us, can you expect praises from them?” He said that for the first time Operation Greens will be launched to protect prices of onion, potato and tomatoes for which Rs 500 crore have been allocated and this will “help in controlling demand and supply”.